Joggers in the Highpoint neighbourhood of East Memphis are living in fear after a large owl has reportedly attacked at least two joggers the past few days. Joe Parks runs through the neighbourhood everyday. A few days ago, he felt what he thought was a branch knock him on the head. "He was coming at me at eye level," Park said. "It was very dark. There was a little bit of fog, and he was dead silent. I happened to turn around when he was coming at me and I hit the deck. He landed in a tree.
"So there I was on the ground. I could see the silhouette, up against the sky of the breaking dawn and it was very clear to me, it was an owl." A few days later Parks came across the owl again and was able to snap a few photos. He said the owl is about two-feet tall, between 10-20 pounds, and with a wing span of at least five-feet. "I could see in his eyes when I was taking his photographs of him, he had no fear of humans," Parks said. "He's a true beast."
He is not the only victim. Bean, another Highpoint resident, was also attacked this week while jogging. The owl did the same thing - swooped down, grabbing the jogger's hat, headphones, and iPod that was attached to the jogger's hat. "I looked to my left and there was an enormous bird flying away from me with a wingspan of about four feet and it had my hat and my iPod as well in its talons," Bean said. "It tore my hat right off my head."
Bean said the owl perched on a nearby roof with his hat and iPod and the two stared each other down. Later, his wife searched the neighbourhood for his belongings. "She was able to find the hat a little while later on her run about one street over, but no iPod," Bean said, who will now do his morning runs elsewhere. The neighborhood is worried. The owl is clearly territorial. "I'm horrified when I run," Parks said. "When I come across the street into owl country, I say a couple of prayers and hope he's not going to get me."
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